U.S. pulls personnel from Ukraine; DHS increases warnings of Russian cyberattacks on U.S. power, communication grid

ALASKA HOUSE COMMITTEE, HOWEVER, CONTINUES TO FOCUS ON OATH KEEPERS AS A TERROR GROUP

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U.S. officials warn that a Russian attack on Ukraine is likely just days away, and has withdrawn all U.S. personnel from the country. Canada has withdrawn all of its military trainers from the area and urged Canadian families to depart immediately, leaving Ukraine now vulnerable. Most of these remaining allies are now in Poland.

The evacuation spells the end of “Operation Unifier,” a large allied training mission in Ukraine, involving both the United Kingdom and the United States. The Ukrainians are once again on their own, as 100,000 Russian troops surround Ukraine along the vast border, and Ukrainians say that portions of their country are already under Russian control.

But the battle ahead may be untraditional and may take place through noncombat means — especially cyberattacks, economic attacks, and terroristic bomb threats, especially since the United States has warned Russia of economic sanctions should President Vladimir Putin attack Ukraine.

With the United States now under the leadership of a frail president, whose mental capacities are demonstrably diminished, Putin may have plans for cyberattacks against the U.S., should our nation retaliate economically against Russia, as President Joe Biden has vowed.

It may be too late for America’s power plants, electric grids, internet, water treatment, and other infrastructure to harden the security of those economic cornerstones, if such an attack is launched.

“We assess that Russia would consider initiating a cyber attack against the Homeland if it perceived a US or NATO response to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine threatened its long-term national security,” according to a DHS Intelligence and Analysis bulletin sent to law enforcement agencies on Jan. 23.

The DHS bulletin also said a “range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against US networks” are available to the Russians. According to CNET.com, “In recent weeks, the Russian government is believed to have initiated a handful of cyberattacks against Ukraine. Last month, hacker groups linked to Russia’s intelligence services were blamed for a cyberattack that defaced dozens of Ukrainian government sites with a message warning the country to ‘be afraid and expect the worst.'”

Such a similar attack on U.S. infrastructure would be seen as an act of war, and would have to be sweeping and done with an element of surprise, otherwise the retaliation by Americans would be crippling to Russia’s own infrastructure.

The threat has been growing: In December, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an urgent bulletin: An internet “vulnerability, which is being widely exploited by a growing set of threat actors, presents an urgent challenge to network defenders given its broad use,” according to CISA Director Jen Easterly. “To be clear, this vulnerability poses a severe risk.”

Easterly was referring to a component of software called “Log4j,” a utility that operates in the background of the vast majority of software applications in the United States. Even the Department of Defense uses Log4j.

What does this mean for Alaska? Alaskans may expect to see more activity around its military bases in coming days, more sorties and exercises, as well as more base security.

For a far-flung state like Alaska, the threat of being wholly dependent of shipping for fuel and food over long distances in difficult conditions, makes the threat of a cyberattack more serious concern, especially for rural Alaska, where there are no roads. A cut to the communications system, such as if the cellular network went down, or the jamming of computers that operate the Trans Alaska Pipeline System would necessitate a state disaster declaration or state of emergency. A governor might need to call up the National Guard in such an emergency.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has already focused on increasing security, requesting $25 million from the Legislature to increase food security in the state, and another $23 million to migrate all state servers to “the cloud,” in the anticipation of major disruptions, such as the one that could occur with Russia and possibly North Korea.

But it would take years to effect the change toward greater food security in Alaska, as well as to harden the state’s servers from being taken down by foreign hackers, even if Dunleavy could get the Legislature to agree.

Whether the Legislature has the clarity to work on this issue is a question. For as much as a cyberattack on the United States is a threat of some magnitude to Alaska, the House Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs on Tuesday will continue its inquisition into the veterans’ group known as the Oath Keepers, with a presentation from Sam Jackson, author of “Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group,” and Matthew Kriner, senior research scholar at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, at Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Thank God the legislature is concerned about the important things: their PerDiem, Eastman, and the state vegetable.

  2. Gotta keep that Raytheon stock price up!

    It’s like my dad always says, 15% for the big guy or I’ll leave you on the tarmac. He can be very persuasive at times, other times… well let’s just say he can be squishier than a pair of khakis in front of the pope!

    Anyway I gotta get back to my fingerpainting.

  3. Rep. Hopkins is now saying that Oath Keepers is a hate group and that Rep. Eastman is the hate leader in Juneau. See Newsminer headlines today regarding Hopkin’s resolution in House. Hopkins needs to have his a$$ wumped this fall.

  4. Perhaps if our legislature remembered and kept the Oath they swore, they would do something useful to protect and defend US against this very real threat.
    .
    But no. It’s partisan politics and tribalism until we’re all speaking Russian. Or Chinese.

  5. Who in their right mind would trust this administration which is practiced at promoting fear?
    They use FEAR to control the masses to achieve their hidden goals.
    Who believes this ‘threat’ is unlike anything we aren’t already experiencing at the hands of current Federal agencies?
    We are constantly bombarded with similar attacks by our OWN – paid for by hard earned tax dollars – Government: threats of domestic cyber attacks – check mark, empty shelf food insecurity – check mark, constant economic attacks – check mark, use of terroristic bomb threats – check mark (what ever happened to that bomb mysteriously found at the Capitol J6?).
    Homeland security warns that by pointing out the obvious abuses by US government could label a citizen a domestic terrorist.
    In an earlier article, ATF (another lovely gov agency) encourages people to turn in their X’s on Valentines Day, that couldn’t be taken out of context, right?
    How about the CDC’s handling of COVID19 +++ – no need to go through the past 2 years of a government agencies and unelected bureaucrats ‘help’ on this fear ridden event.
    Come on people – lest we forget the ever helpful DC FBI, CIA, Dept. of Justice – need I go on?
    The stresses in our lives right now, at the hands of our OWN government – its agencies and unelected bureaucrats are relentless. NOW RUSSIA?! Pull my finger –
    I’m proud of our local government’s action and preparations – but don’t expect the ‘people’ to freak out, we’re practiced at taking abuse.

  6. Obama started this; remember when he put in agent provocateur’s in Crimea and Ukraine? Nothing has changed, same players different day. Your taxpayer- fueled shadow Govt hard at work.

  7. As Alaskan vulnerabilities are identified & opportunities to attempt to protect them are wasted by Rep. Tuck, who is looking to advance his candidacy for Senete on the back of Rep. Eastman and Oathkeepers with a wasteful and costly display of Alaskas own kangaroo court. Shame on you Rep. Tuck.

  8. Nancy Pelosi spilled the beans.

    First, accuse Vladimir Putin of doing something he never intends to do, a fabricated scenario. Second, tell the world you will strongly respond to the fabricated scenario. Third, tell the world the exact date when the fabricated scenario is supposed to happen. Then, when the fabricated scenario never happens, it is because you are so brilliant and strong to have outmaneuvered and cowed the Russians.

    Brandon is a hero.

  9. Imagine, if you will, a group of people elected to complete business critical to the State, who are perfectly comfortable with ignoring that business and wasting incredibly valuable time on political assassinations and various other sundry items for extensive periods of time, in the short period of time that they have to perform their duties. Imagine them doing it repeatedly, year after year. Imagine them thinking that they will continue to do the same indefinitely.

    Sadly, none of those things require imagination. Rest assured, those of us with one WILL overcome this circumstance, and when we do, those elected to SERVE THE PEOPLE will do their job. Then, and thereafter, the glory will be to God.

  10. Why is it always “Russia! Russia! Russia!” hysteria and willful warmongering from the neofascist left? I am so SICK of these trumped-up propaganda campaigns to meddle where the USA does not belong, and to cause needless wars to feed the military-industrial complex.

  11. Our power grids and computers are very vulnerable. I’ve read where in a large US cities 3 days without electricity is the max. The situation will erupt into irreversible turmoil and anarchy. Chilling thoughts. This happens in Seattle and we have no food.

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